Ah, it finally becomes clear to me, and I am so loving it! I was wondering why, after Chuck Schumer had taken over as Senate Majority Leader, Senate committees were still being run by the old GOP chairs. It turns out that Mitch McConnell is a sore loser, and he was pulling a typical dick move.
Here’s how it goes. Normally, when the Senate changes hands, the Majority and Minority Leaders get together, and they reconstitute the Senate. Each side names the members who will sit on the various committees, and the Majority leader names the Chairs. The bill is called the Reestablishment of the Senate, and it is purely procedural. In fact, the damn thing is normally passed by unanimous consent. McConnell was literally filibustering the Democrats taking over the Senate until Chuck Schumer added a provision that the Democrats would never touch the filibuster.
How many times have I bitterly complained about what wussies the Democrats are? They finally get power, they beg for bipartisanship, listen to Mitch McConnell’s lame bullshit, and every damn time it’s Lucy-and-the-football. And here’s McConnell, promising to use the filibuster responsibly, like a bottle of tequila on a Friday night, but forcing a promise from Schumer that he would agree that he couldn’t do a goddamn thing about it if Moscow Mitch went hog wild.
And so, once again, Lucy got down on one knee, and held out the football. And Chuck Schumer backed up about 30 yards, ran forward full speed, and kicked Lucy right in the ass! And it was the moment that this particular Democrat has been waiting his whole life for.
What made it such a thing of beauty is that Schumer shamed McConnell into backing down. Earlier in the afternoon, Schumer sat down with Rachel Maddow for an exclusive interview, and Maddow brought the subject up. Schumer was almost gleeful when he recounted how he had advised McConnell that the Democrats were making non concessions, and that all options were on the table. That part of Maddow’s interview hadn’t even aired yet, when McConnell released a statement that he was dropping his filibuster, and allowing the change of power to take place, with no concessions.
McConnell is a diminished figure, and it’s all because of Donald Trump. His total subservience to Trump made his moderate wing’s life miserable, and placed them at electoral risk. There is already a core group of about a half a dozen moderate GOP senators who have stated that they’re actually ready to govern again, and now that bills will actually be brought to the floor, they may well vote with Democrats on things that are popular with their own constituents. McConnell was desperate to save the filibuster, so that he could control the flow of bills getting votes on the floor. And he failed.
Here’s how. Right now, Schumer would need all 50 Democratic Senators to vote to abolish the filibuster in order for Kamala Harris to cast the deciding vote. And he doesn’t have it right now. Both Kirsten Sinema of Arizona, as well as perennial pain in the ass Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have said that they will not vote to abolish the filibuster for legislation.
But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, even a mangy, flea bitten alley cat like McConnell, and I predict that you’ll see it happen in the next couple of weeks. Schumer doesn’t have to abolish the filibuster, he just has to reform it. And no Democratic Senators have come out against reforming the filibuster.
Remember, the filibuster was never intended to become the elephant burial grounds for every bill the minority doesn’t like, it was meant to slow the process down to allow for more debate and deliberation. It took an arrogant poltroon like McConnell to piss in the punchbowl. Time to bring the filibuster into the 21st century.
For instance, Schumer can simply go back to the talking filibuster. That’s how it was in the old days. In the iconic James Stewart classic, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, the whole emphasis of the movie was Stewart talking and raging for hours against a bill he passionately objected. In a talking filibuster, once the objecting Senator runs out of steam, or passes out, then the floor vote is called for.
Another common sense form of filibuster reform is to put a time limit on filibuster debate. Let’s just say 10 or 20 hours. Once a Senator filibusters, all objecting Senators can take turns saying their piece, up until the time limit is reached, at which time the floor vote will be called.
But the simplest one, and the one that I like the best, is simply changing the number of votes needed to bring cloture and allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote. It is insane to even think that either party can have a clear majority in the Senate, and yet have to be totally subservient on convincing opponents of the rightness of their cause just to get a vote on a bill. set the vote total required to invoke cloture at 40 or 45, or at the most 50. Of the minority wants to stop a vote on a bill, then let them convince Senators to their side, not the other way around.
McConnell went too far. And now Schumer is going to make him pay for it. Watch for him to hold a vote to make all Senate reorganization privileged votes, which only require a simple majority. And sometime over the next few weeks, possibly after the impeachment trial, watch for Schumer to bring a filibuster reform bill to the floor for a simple procedural vote requiring 50 votes to pass. McConnell is about to become inconsequential in the Senate, and he knows it. And he has nobody but himself to blame.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to check out President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange . They comprise a pretty much daily report from the front of the 2016 GOP primaries, as well as the general election
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